Hey, hey, slow down.
Yes, breathe. In and out. Deep breaths. Preferably with your eyes closed. Also, take the chance to check your posture and pay attention to all parts of your body. I will not continue until you do so.
How are you feeling? Hopefully, less hectic, and more relaxed. And now you are ready, and able to read and enjoy this post (at least I hope so).
The modern world is full of distractions. Everything is for yesterday. If something happens in the other side of the globe, we know live, as if we were there. We are required to do more, accomplish more, be more productive. Meanwhile, time seems increasingly shorter. Everything happens at the same time: you are crazily translating something to be delivered in a couple of hours, someone texts you, another person tags you on Facebook, you get a couple of emails, your phone rings. And all these things usually demand your prompt attention. Amidst this crazy routine, we can even forget to breathe! We forget we have a body that also needs our attention, but since it is quiet – not making a fuss as all the other things requiring our immediate attention –, we completely forget about it. I got short of breath only by writing this paragraph! Phew!
People proudly say they are multitaskers. As if this were something good. Well, here is the naked truth: it is NOT. First of all, you think you are able to multitask, but you are actually task-switching. This process can actually “cause a 40% loss in productivity,” increase your stress levels, have a bad effect on memory, harm your creativity. This article provides a small test that proves that the brain does not actually handle multiple tasks at once, as we believe.
Have you heard of mindfulness?
It is a modern concept that has been increasingly discussed nowadays, and it means having a deep awareness of the present. It is thus the complete opposite of multitasking. Applying this concept to our everyday lives not only makes us happier and healthier but also more productive, resulting in quality outcomes, since we are 100% focused on what we are doing at the moment.
Think with me: It is better working five hours of your day totally focused on each task at a time than “working” for nine hours multitasking and not actually producing anything concrete, right? If you don’t believe me (neither in the researches), try for yourself one day.
I usually work at one-hour chunks. During this one hour, I focus 100% on whatever I have to do: translate, write a blog post, work on my finances. Then I take a quick break during which time I can check and reply to emails, check and reply to text messages, fetch something to eat, etc. Social media usually has its own time set aside, so I do not keeping checking it throughout the day. This can also be considered mindfulness, in my opinion.
Gym time for me is also precious. No phone, except for listening to music. But even that I seem to be getting tired of. I seem to be incresingly fond of exercising in silence, just paying full attention to each movement, my body, my thoughts.
And weekends are also perfect for practicing mindfulness. A friend of mine usually say, “Doing nothing is also productive.” Resting, having fun, relaxing, laughing, sleeping are also essential for productivity.
So what do you say? Let’s try less multitasking and more mindfulness? Who is with me?
I also suggest reading: Why Should We Slow Down? The Lost Art of Patience